Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary... Do Time???

Two 10-year-old Florida girls were taken to jail for bringing a bag of parsley to school and pretending it was marijuana.

The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a crime to claim that a substance is a drug -- whether or not the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their parents.

The girls were also suspended from school and ordered to attend drug awareness classes.

What's next, field sobriety tests for kids drinking root beer?

"Now listen, son, I want you to stand on one foot and sing your ABC's backwards."


Ross Wilson said...

This looks like another example of a "Drug War exception" to the Constitution. I can claim that the Pope's Jewish, that the sky's green, or that Pam Anderson's boobs are real, but if I tell someone that my rosemary is pot, I can be sent to jail.

Isn't this a clear 1st amendment violation? As long as you don't knowingly make false statements to a police officer or lie about a product you're selling, you can say just about whatever you want about anything. But when you fib to your friends about which herb you have in your pocket, it's a criminal offense.

JT Barrie said...

Don't laugh. I distinctly remember getting looped on root beer as a seven year old. It worked until I was told that root beer was non alcoholic; before that it was the placebo effect.
I was checking my ten year old's health homework and it was about [arbitrarily banned and otherwise "dangerous"] drugs. She was quite concerned about steroids and said that she would never use them. I gently told her that she was already using steroids in her asthma medication. She was horrified! "Is it like the one in the book, Daddy"?
I had to explain to her about the people discussed in the book, how they used stronger steroids for longer periods. I also told her that I had friends who used cortisone injections from their coach. They were runners just like me, but their running was cut short by over reliance on cortisone shots and never ran again - either for fun or competition. People who had these types of problems misused these drugs; she didn't have to worry. I also told her that there was no such thing as a bad drug. All drugs could be useful in a healthy lifestyle - if you didn't misuse them.

"But Daddy, they didn't tell us this in the book"? she replied. Then I had to tell her how school textbooks lie to kids about drugs. She had just been grounded for lying in exactly the same manner as the textbook deliberately lied to her and for essentially the same reasons: to make herself look better and hide the truth from me. Kids get grounded for lying. They learn the consequences of omitting important facts. School board members get reelected for lying to kids about drugs. They do it because every other school board lies about drugs. They do it because parents pressure them to lie to kids about drugs. Can you say "peer pressure"? That's why school districts throughout the country lie to kids about drugs: they don't want parents and politicians to disapprove of them.

Kris said...

I wonder if this experience has created a deeper respect for the law in these girls and their peers... 10-year old children have enough intellect to understand how bogus this is. Sounds like a very counter-productive measure to me, on par with suspending students for truancy. What next?

Micah Daigle said...

I have a strong feeling that all of us, at some point in our lives, have watched a movie or a TV show in which the actors "pretend" to do or sell drugs on screen. Is this "pretending" an exception to the law? An exception to the 1st amendement exception? Do any of our law students know the case-law behind this? (Alex?... Shawn?...)

Tom Angell said...

Good point, Micah.

I remember being in DARE and having to act out scenarios about how to say "no" to drug use. The officer had us use a bag of flour as a prop.

I wonder if temporarily pretending that a bag of flour is cocaine would be against the law in a situation like this.